Tag Archives: historical fiction

Throwback Thursday: A Long Way from Chicago

long way from chicagoFor this Throwback Thursday I recommend: A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck.

A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.

Originally published in 1998, this book was awarded the Newbery Honor in 1999. The sequel, A Year Down Yonder, won the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2001. This historical fiction class is available in large print and as an audiobook! You can find it in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PECK.

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Throwback Thursday: On the Banks of Plum Creek

on the banks.jpgIt’s Throwback Thursday! Today Librarian Petra recommends: On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Laura and her family move to Minnesota where they live in a dugout until a new house is built and face misfortunes caused by flood, blizzard, and grasshoppers.

First published in 1939, On the Banks of Plum Creek is the fourth in the series of Little House books that cover the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Anyone who loved Little House in the Big Woods or Little House on the Prairie will not be disappointed by this next entry in the series as Laura and her family grapple with moving to Minnesota and all the challenges that brings. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J WILDER.

Book Review: The Explorer

the explorerToday I recommend: The Explorer by Katherine Rundell.

Left stranded in the Amazon jungle when their plane crashes on their way back to England from Manaus, Brazil, four children struggle to survive for days until one of them finds a map that leads them to a ruined city and a secret hidden among the vines.

This is a good book for kids craving a little adventure. It is fast-paced and I was hooked from the first few pages when the pilot passes away right at the controls of the plane. There are loads of descriptions of the kids getting creative to find food in the jungle (grub pancakes anyone?) and an adorable animal sidekick in the form of a sloth that they adopt. This is historical fiction but the closest read-alike would be Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J RUNDELL.

~aw

9/11

On this somber day, we have a couple of suggestions for books about the events of, and in remembrance of 9/11:

Nonfiction:

Saved by the Boats: the Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman (Juvenile Nonfiction j974.71 GASSMAN): Presents the heroic sea evacuation of September 11, 2001 with narrative text and vivid illustrations.

Cause and Effect: The September 11 Attacks by Robert Green (Juvenile Nonfiction j973.931 GREEN): Examines the September 11 terrorist attacks, discussing the events leading up to the attack, the impact on American society, and its lasting effect around America and the globe.

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy (Juvenile Nonfiction j327.676 DEEDY): Maasai tribal members, after hearing the story of the September 11th attacks from a young Massai, who was in New York on that day, decide to present the American people with fourteen sacred cows as a healing gift.

Historical Fiction:

Nine, Ten: A September 11 story by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Juvenile Fiction J BASKIN): Relates how the lives of four children living in different parts of the country intersect and are affected by the events of September 11, 2001.

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu (Juvenile Fiction J DONWERTH): Eleven-year-old Emma’s life in Tokyo changes for the worse when she and her American mother, who is pregnant, must move in with her Japanese grandmother the summer before 9/11 changes the world.

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis (Juvenile Fiction J TARSHIS): When Lucas decides to skip school because he wants to discuss football with a firefighter friend of his father, he finds himself caught up in the terrorist attacks on New York City.

~aw

 

Book Review: Making Bombs for Hitler

Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Skrypuch

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In this historical fiction novel set during World War 11, it is 1943 and the Nazis have taken Lida and her little sister Larissa from their home country of Ukraine, and then separated. Lida is sent to a slave labor camp in Germany, but she has no idea what has happened to Larissa. We read Lida’s fight to survive along with many other children. The story brings history to life as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl.

Find this in our Juvenile Fiction collection under the call number J SKRYPUCH.

 

Book Review: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

With the new school year approaching, I recommend reading It Ain’t So Awful Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas.

Zomorod Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block .25897857 . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name–Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. 

I picked this book up because I saw that it took place in the 1970’s which I thought would make for a fun setting.  Zomorod, or Cindy’s, family is from Iran but they love living in America.  Even though Cindy is from Iran, she’s just a kid trying to fit in and make friends, like a lot of us.  The historical events, like revolts taking place at that time in Iran, made me want to do a little research on Iran and American relations.  A little bit of humor and a little bit of history make this an appealing read!

Find it in our Juvenile Fiction collection under J DUMAS.

-AM

Book Review: When Mischief Came to Town

when mischiefToday we recommend: When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad.

In 1911, when orphaned ten-year-old Inge comes to live with her stern grandmother in a remote island village in Bornholm, Denmark, she ends up changing the climate of the town, bringing joy and laughter to her grandmother’s life and finding a new family for herself to help assuage her grief over losing her mother.

This is a really sweet book, a little bit funny, and also just a little sad. Much of the focus of the book is exploring the relationship between Inge and her grandmother as they get to know one another. Also enjoyable are the fairy tales and folk stories woven throughout the book. You’ll cheer for Inge as she introduces pranks and mischief into the lives of the villagers and her grandmother. You can find this book on our Battle of the Books shelf at J NANNESTAD.

~aw

Book Review: Making Bombs for Hitler

making bombs for hitlerToday I recommend: Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

When Lida and her sister are caught by the Nazis they are separated. Lida is sent to a slave labour camp and must work from dawn to dusk on bread and soup, without shoes and wearing only a thin dress. Even if she survives the war, will Lida ever see her sister again?

This book grabbed my attention right away and I couldn’t put it down. This is a fictionalized account of young Ukrainian Lida’s experiences in Nazi work camps but it is based on facts and interviews as explained in the excellent author’s note. It addresses all of the horrors of the Holocaust without being too graphic in its descriptions. The strength of Lida and her struggles will hook you and you’ll feel emotional as you root for her. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SKRYPUCH.

If Making Bombs for Hitler sounds interesting you might also enjoy: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Juvenile Fiction J LOWRY). For other books about WWII check out: Book Review: Brave Like My Brother

~aw

Book Review: Brave Like My Brother

brave like my brotherToday I recommend: Brave Like My Brother by Marc Tyler Nobleman.

When Charlie’s older brother Joe is called up in 1942, Charlie learns about the tedium and dangers of war through Joe’s letters–and his brother’s bravery in dealing with a spy as D-Day approaches, finally gives Charlie the strength to stand up to the local bully.

This is a really nice historical fiction book that focuses less on the war and more on the relationship between the two brothers. Most of the book is written in the form of letters from Joe to Charlie, and the format makes for an interesting but not too intense tale. Older readers may be more interested in The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley but this is an excellent story for younger readers. This book can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J NOBLEMAN.

~aw

Book Review: Dear Hank Williams

jacketThis week I finished reading Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt.

When the teacher assigns a pen pal project to the class, 11-year-old Tate chooses the soon to be famous (in then, 1948) country western musician Hank Williams.  She writes him letters throughout the school year, sharing everything about her life in Louisiana.  She writes about her little brother and her dog, her talented mother- who is in jail, and her own dreams of becoming a famous singer.

Imagine a time before the internet and social media. A time when you had maybe one chance to hear your favorite singer on the radio, and if you missed it, you had to wait another day or another week to hear them again.  There is a lot to learn about what life was like in a post-WWII southern town. Writing and mailing letters and looking out for your favorite radio program made me think of how different things are today!  If you like historical fiction or classic country western music, try Dear Hank Williams.  If you can, I also recommend reading it with some Hank Williams music playing in the background.  Maybe you’ll become as big a fan as Tate!

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HOLT!